Three Years for $53 Million Rip-Off

     DALLAS (CN) – The last of five defendants was sentenced to 40 months in federal prison for a $53 million oil and gas investment scheme that ripped off 200 investors.
     Mickey Glen Horn, 45, of Prosper, Texas, also was ordered to pay $1.9 million in restitution on Friday.
     He pleaded guilty in May 2010 to securities fraud.
     Prosecutors say Horn sold oil and gas development projects of Western Pipeline Corp., whose majority owner and co-conspirator was John Arthur Apple Jr., 53, of Lewisville.
     Apple was sentenced in April to 10 years in federal prison and ordered to pay $53 million in restitution. He pleaded guilty in January to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and securities fraud.
     “Apple and his co-conspirators misled, deceived and defrauded prospective investors by misrepresenting and failing to disclose material facts,” prosecutors said in a statement.
     “As part of their roles, the co-conspirators assumed false identities when communicating with prospective investors, and, in the guise of those false identities, claimed to be investors in past Western Pipeline oil and gas development projects that supposedly had been successful.”
     Co-conspirator Christopher Scott Jent, of Dallas, pleaded guilty to securities fraud in June 2009. He was sentenced to the statutory maximum of 5 years in federal prison and ordered to pay $53 million in restitution.
     Clifford Duane Stahl, of Carrollton, pleaded guilty to securities fraud in November 2009. He was sentenced to 48 months in prison and ordered to pay $2 million in restitution.
     James Timothy Nealy, 60, of Irving, pleaded guilty in September 2010 to conspiring to commit securities fraud and wire fraud. He was sentenced to 4 years in prison and ordered to pay $53 million in restitution.
     Two investors sued all five conspirators and Western Pipeline in Dallas County Court in 2008, claiming they were defrauded by the defendants’ “massive civil and criminal conspiracy”.
     “The other officers of WPC … move in and out of these various corporations like musical chairs, depending on the needs of Apple,” the complaint stated. “WPC, through the individual defendants, also claims to own significant interests in oil and gas and seek ‘investments’ from individuals like the plaintiffs who they dupe and defraud into parting with their money.”
     The plaintiffs claimed they were sent false progress reports, false drilling reports and false completion reports to string them along. They were occasionally sent token amounts of money.
     Horn was ordered to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on Nov. 28.

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